Snowboard Sizing: It's not as hard as you think
"What size snowboard should I get?" We've all been there before. When it comes to snowboard sizing, forget the old school "between your nose and chin" crap. That's history. These days, it all comes down to riding style and personal perference. While there is no definitive formula to find the right snowboard size, sizing out a board isn't as difficult as it seems.
We'll get into the details below, but in a nutshell, this is how you find the right size board:
- Figure Out Your Riding Style
- Select A Few Boards that fit your style
- Select A Size That Matches Your Weight / Shoe Size
- Get a board and shred.
Basically, if you find a board that matches your riding style and that accomodates your weight/shoe size, you really can't go wrong.
Figure Out Your Riding Level / Style & Pick Out Some Boards
Get on the hill, demo some boards, figure out your style, and pick out a few boards that you like.
- First Timer / Progressing Rider
- It's cool to get a shorter board, since it'll be easier to control and easier to learn on, but be sure you're still within the weight range for that size—check out the Tech Specs for each board.
TIP: For riders just starting out, check out our selection of snowboard packages - these are board/binding/boot setups.
- Advanced / Expert
- It's all about the quiver — specialize with powder boards, jib sticks.
- Stick to boards that fit your weight. You want to be as close as you can to the middle of the board's weight range. See explanation below.
Freestyle: Men's Boards / Women's Boards
- You know who you are: jibbers, park rats. You ride terrain parks, rails, half pipes, and the city.
- You often like to get the smallest length board you can fit on, which is perfectly fine as long as you don't exceed the weight limit of the board and there's no toe/heel drag.
- You ride twin or sometimes directional twin boards if you do more in the pipe - they ride the same regular and switch.
- Hot freestyle brands for '09:
- All-Mountain: Men's Boards / Women's Boards
- You ride the entire mountain. Snow sucks? You hit up the park. 15 inches overnight? You're in the powder. Bored? You're cruisin' groomers at mach 10.
- It's all about versatility: you'll like a length that's short enough to have fun in the park, but long enough to float pow and carve through the trees.
- Directional twin boards are the way to go: they're made to ride regular, but do fine if you land switch.
- Hot all-mountain brands for '09:
- Powder Hounds: Powder / Split Boards
- Pow stash to 20ft cliff drop, back to powder, through the trees, more pow, and then another lap. Sound familiar?
- It's all about speed, control, and float. You'll dig a longer all-mountain snowboard, a powder-specific board—something with some taper or even reverse camber.
Find a Board That Matches Your Weight & Foot Size
Once you've narrowed it down to a few boards, click in to each board, and look at the Tech Specs on the right hand side of the page. You'll see a line in there that shows the manufacturer's recommended rider weight. You want to be close to the middle of the recommended weight range. It's cool if you size up or down as long as you're still in the weight range.
The above example is for the Rome Agent Snowboard (a freestyle deck). So if you're around 150lbs, the 156cm would fit the bill. But if you wanted to size up, you could go as big as the 160cm, and if you wanted to size down, you could go as short as the 152cm.
It's totally cool to size up or down as long as your weight is within the recommended weight for a board.
- You might want to size up if:
- You're tall for your weight
- You're only going to be riding in powder
- "You know what they say about guys with big boards..."
- You might want to size down if:
- You're short for your weight.
- You want a freestyle deck you can really throw around.
Foot Size / Board Width
Heel / Toe drag sucks. Plain and simple. So you want to be sure you get a board that will fit your foot. If you have under US Men's 10 size shoes, you pretty much have nothing to worry about—most any board will work. (Although we definitely don't recommend getting a wide board if you have size 5 shoes.) If you're big-footed, not to worry: these days, pretty much every snowboard company makes wide boards.
|US Men's Boot Size||US Women's Boot Size||Board Waist Width|
|Less than 5.5||Less than 7||Under 240mm|
You can find the waist width in the Tech Specs. Waist widths are measured a the center of the board, on the base (underside).
Keep in mind that your stance affects what width board you can ride. If you ride with more of a duck foot stance, you can get away with a narrower width. If you like to ride closer to 0°/0°, you might consider a wider board.
Picking out the right size Rocker or Reverse Camber board is nowhere near as complicated as people seem to be making it. There are 3 kinds of Rocker & Reverse Camber on the market in 2010, and each one has a different.
- Reverse Camber: Exactly what it sounds like. Take a normal camber and turn it upside down. The board dips in the middle like a rocking chair when you lay in on the floor. Most people who ride these boards prefer to go down a size as they are primarily riding rails and boxes and like the extra control you get with a shorter size. If you plan to ride one of these boards all over the mountain, stick with the size you would normally get in a regular camber board.
- Rocker: These boards are flat in the middle and then begin to curve up immediately past the binding inserts. There are varying degrees of rocker for park, all-mountain riding and powder. Size down if you want to jib with a rockered board and go with your standard size for all-mountain riding. If you are getting one for powder, you don't need to size up as like a tapered shaped powder board. Rocker boards float well and a 161 is going to float like a 166 would.
- Hybrid Reverse Camber: These boards feature a reverse camber in the middle of the board and regular camber under foot. Size these boards exactly like you would a regular board.
Snowboard Sizing: Summed Up
So hopefully we haven't been a total buzz kill by not giving you a fancy-pants formula or calculator. Sure, those things exist all over the place, but they pretty much always fall short because every board is different and every rider is different. That's why you have to look at each board, examine the specs, and choose accordingly.
In case you missed it above, snowboard sizing all comes down to riding style, personal preference, and rider weight and foot size.
Honestly, the best advice we can give you is to get out there, ride as many boards as you can and figure out for yourself what you like. That'll make this whole process a lot easier.
Have your own tips or feedback about this guide? Send us an email.